Is Swearing a Sin?

I was watching a video the other day on “youtube” that is about how Christians swear without swearing. At first I was a bit put off by the title, but it did catch my attention. This is a strange topic for me since I try my darndest to not swear or curse.
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It has been over 20 yrs since I have really said swear words, or at-least I was thinking I have stopped. The reason I say this is that there are creative ways to swear without really swearing. After I watched part of the video and thinking about it as I was trying to fall asleep, it pretty much bugged me. How could I be swearing when I have made it a point to not swear or curse? One of my most common words I use almost daily is “oh crap”. When I say that it is out of frustration and disdain. Just because I don’t use the sh- – word, I am still meaning the same thing. It is said in the same context and thus that would mean it is the same, just presented in a different way.

Then there is the word Hell, as in a place of damnation. If you were to tell someone to “go to hell”, we are cursing a person. Another way some get around it is by saying “oh hell”. Hello, that is still the same thing, just delivered in a different format. Since I have had a huge problem with swearing personally, I have gone out of my way to not do it and I still fall into the trap by justifying it by saying a less harsh version of the word.

In my opening sentence for this blog post, I posted that I try my darndest to not swear or curse. So, lets look at what the word “darndest” means. Darn is one of the ways for religious people to say damn. In a sentence format, it would go something like this; This darn car just cut me off. Instead it is meaning that this “damn “car just cut me off. Dangit, I just swore I wouldn’t swear. OK, so now I did it again! I used the word Dang. Dang is another word for darn which is another word for damn. I can see me getting myself in a whole lot of trouble with this post.

  • Matthew 12:35-36: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Washed Mouth Out With SoapBasically what I get from the above verse is that whatever comes out of my mouth also comes from my heart. Egads, that isn’t a good thing. When I first decided that it was not appropriate to swear was many years ago. I say that because one day when I was in a group of people, I was swearing, but nobody else was. I became very alert to what I was saying and how bad it made it sound. It was a reality check for myself because I knee that my language was inappropriate and not something that would be pleasing to God. To say I was caught off guard is an understatement.

I believe that as a Christian that I should refrain from using what I would consider as unGodly words and words of this world. Colossians 3:8; “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”  We are told to not use language that is foul, disgusting and unclean. I have made it a point to stay clear of words that are words that cause harm and degrade others feelings. If we are using words that hurt others then they are sinful words of the heart. As a Christian, I need to remember that I am a new creation and that I need to stay clear of the forms of communication that is demeaning.

I don’t mean to judge other Christians when it comes to watching what they say. I have chosen in my life to not intentionally use swear words to hurt others since I want to please God and glorifying Him. As a whole, I think we have become desensitized when it comes to swearing. It says in Ephesians 4:29 ; For cussing or swearing is not edifying to the Church, or anyone else, and it does not minister grace unto the hearers. According this verse in the Bible, when we swear we are sinning. Normally when we are cursing or swearing, it is a way of emphasizing a point of or curses at people, they are generally emphasizing a point of hatred, anger, or frustration.

This subject kept me up most of the night. I should never watch videos that are thought provoking since I know I will keep thinking on it. I see Christians and myself that post status’s on Facebook. They will use other terms instead of using the actual word. But it doesn’t change the context that it was said in. Either way it is swearing no matter how the language is changed.

Most Christians concede that cursing is sin, but asks if milder expressions like “heck” or “darn” are sins? The answer is yes, because they are the same words, disguised to be something else so that we can use these words without guilt. But they are still a curse when used in the “same” worldly fashion. For the meaning and intent is the same, only the letters were changed. It’s a matter of the intents of the heart, not the word itself. If we’re going to substitute the word “heck” for “hell,” and use it in a cursing manner, we might just as well use the word hell itself. Because the intent is the same.

zipitupAs I was listening to this video from the perspective of a non-Christian, it hit me hard and when he used the word “hypocritical Christians”, I was taken back. It went on to say that Christians have no problem justifying using words such as “crap, “heck”, “oh fudge”,”freakin”, “holy cow”,  “dang”, “gosh darn it”, “bs”, “wtf” “flippin”, “go to blazes” and a whole lot of other words and phrases that doesn’t make saying the obscenity as sin. There will be those who say it isn’t swearing, but if you are substituting a less abrasive word for the more obscene, it is swearing. I do want to say that it isn’t the words themselves that are obscene or demeaning, it is the intent that is behind the words and the meaning in your heart. I’m sure there are countless theologians who would say that words like “darn” and “heck” are not sinful because they don’t have an obscene or filthy meaning, but they are missing the point entirely.

I am going to make it a point to stop using these substitute words in place of the actual ones. If I need to replace the swear word with a replacement, then it shouldn’t be said to being with. There are going to be those people and I’m not meaning to judge others, but there will be some who have no problem with swearing. To them, it is just a word, nothing more. I’m pretty sure that God fully understands the meaning of words we choose to speak. He also knows what is on our heart and the intentions behind what we are saying.

I just want to close this post by saying, that when someone is cursing or swearing, am I or others doing it out of a love of God? The way I see it this is not out of love. It shows how we are upset, angry or frustrated with someone or something. As a Christian and a new creation in Christ, I would hope that my behavior would set me apart from the ways of the world. In no way am I perfect and I can’t guarantee I won’t slip. My biggest swear word is “crap” and when I say it, it isn’t in a good way and it is when I am frustrated. I realize that I live in this world, but my home isn’t here. If I can’t comfortably say something with Christ in front of me, then I know I shouldn’t be saying it.

  • In Philippians 1:27 it says that; “Only let your conversation be as it become the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

When I read this I am convinced that our speech, lifestyles, and conversations should clean. For me it was a stumbling block 20 years or so ago. I want to be sure that my speech is a witness to Christ. If I am in doubt I ask myself, “would I be comfortable cussing and swearing when Christ returns?”

The Bible has all kinds of verses that covers cursing and swearing.  If anger stirs up inside of us, it will eventually come out and it can really damage our witness to other people.  My best guess is wanting me to hold my tongue which isn’t the easiest but is the best option.  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.”

  • (Proverbs 15:2)  “A gentle tongue is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 15:4a)  God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!

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